Oil price virtually unchanged
The price of oil settled virtually unchanged on Thursday after moving in a narrow range following speculation that Egypt’s president was about to step down. Late in the day President Hosni Mubarak said he would pass his authority to his vice-president but would not immediately leave office. The move means he keeps his title of president and ensures his regime will control any reform process, falling short of protester demands.
Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude rose two cents to settle at $86.73 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices climbed as high as $88.28 and dropped as low as $85.96 during the session. In London, Brent crude fell 88 cents to settle at $101.44 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.
Egypt’s military announced on national television earlier in the day that it had stepped in to “safeguard the country” and assured protesters that Mubarak will meet their demands. The chief demand is that Mubarak leave office.
Canadian dollar down
TORONTO — The Canadian dollar closed slightly lower against the greenback Thursday, recovering from early lows as oil prices shed morning losses and moved into positive territory.
The loonie was down 0.19 of a cent at 100.42 cents US after going as low as 100.15 cents US.
Crude prices recovered from early levels with the March contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange ahead two cents at US$86.73 a barrel.
Metal prices were stable with the March copper contract in New York up two cents at US$4.55 a pound, although that was still down from last Friday’s latest record high close of US$4.58. Gold was higher, with the April bullion contract in New York up $3 at US$1,362.50 an ounce. The U.S. dollar had earlier strengthened amid data which showed that the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits plunged last week to the lowest level in nearly three years, boosting hopes that companies will step up hiring this year.